Laying out democracy

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Video in TIB AV-Portal: Laying out democracy

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Laying out democracy
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OK hello so this will be the 1st black talk today
were and then because of winter we run the leverage graphics and design research studio called modified to in and and we're going to tell you about a little unfolding story about politics
interfaces and better what good and in its 1st
this will help this is a picture of our hackerspace back portal we help run this place it's a place where there are no profit and no budgets where we just run a community activity all sorts of it and this 1 specific activity is a session of the transparency have portal which was an initiative that got started around 9 months ago and we'll get there and work on an open that's especially open public that and that this is a picture of the Open Data Hackathorn which was the world wide events and this 1 day which I think was 6 around 6 months ago right and then we're hackerspaces around the world and open that movements around the world would sit down for a day and hack on stuff we actually managed to score to have this and with these people hacking and as well student might spend the next day the not long ago and on the 30th
March we had the Document Freedom Day which is also a worldwide they dedicated to transparency and open that up and thanks will work with the with the transparency we actually release that that the sets that we gathered with information about some information about Portuguese parliament about and peace governments parties and portuguese regions and all that everything release the CSV files and as I get to later it was actually quite a bit of work on so but if you want to get information
from the about the Portuguese Parliament had their websites and actually just a little question it's not that hard can actually guess what the site uh what's language which framework the Portuguese Parliament website is designed on and working on it's actually a a speedup that's all this crappy Microsoft technology that makes stuff a lot harder for us to go get information so we they had this picture collective collective it to go
to this website and build tools to get the information out and actually make it free because as far as we believe it is public information even though there is a copyright note but we're actually going all the way and I feel that it is public information and we actually have the right to release it and and uh preformance and that's something that we went into was and the 2 of us the hectic is dedicated to liberating the doctor about the sets and then there's the task of doing something with them and providing an interface to navigate this information and so the 2 of us decided let's get there is information about an old information about Parliament sessions because there are transcripts and then they're pretty hard to get and I'll show you how hard it is and and we want to get that and do something with them so this is the Portuguese Parliament website and and I'm going to demo a little what you what you have to do to actually get to the crash transcripts 1st you have to know they exist we just found that actually existed for months into our transparency have think that means we were actually looking for them and we never knew that that they were actually available we just heard by someone who was fact part it's there the DNS and with because the diary of the Republican Assembly Republican Leader that's it so you
can get there and then you get asked what's the series that you want so you can actually read through this and maybe yeah that's the 1st series that we want but it's not really making it a really very easy for us to get there so say that we want to see that the transcript of the session of say I think it's the 20 4th of March 2008 and this is an issue that I 2010 and this list will go until
the 2008 but September words March
I would actually have to know what's was but is later legislature and know the dates that each 1 started as the legislative session so if I want this information I actually need to be knowledgeable about Parliament workings which and might be a serious
problem so I can choose the actual legislature and yet I found that 1 of its members in 59 14 rout of 2008 that's alright it's a PDF gender it's there but a PDF is not that
good we can extract it we actually started trying to work with it but it's not really the best platform to to work with trying to convert PDF to text and so on so someone told us there is
another website just dedicated to debates with the transcripts since 1821 that's wonderful so we just went there how do we found a way here OK maybe it's since 1976 probably that's that's not we
have to look there no it's the diary index as long as
I still don't get tired and went back to Facebook and so yeah let's keep looking for the truth transcripts and yet this 1 is a little better tells me 2009 below I can choose that yes there is
here's a list I can open it page list this is becoming
a little weird paper I got a nice text well actually HTML transcript of scroll till the end
and what's this it's says next page I actually
have to go through each page if I want to read the whole day and this is around 50 pages per day so there's no way I'm going to get curious about I'm going to give up and everyone is going to give up and everyone have everyone who ever tried will give up and that's a problem and that's it it's very difficult to get to this information it's impossible to get curious about this information because it's so hard to get the and there's a number of barriers of interface that might be due to incompetence might be due to the bureaucracy but our personal feeling is that they're not innocent the fact that it's really hard to get here even though this is public information is not innocent that's our beliefs but let's keep that compares
to Wikipedia and 315 this and this excuse CD comic but I think you can identify with this which is you go looking for someone on Wikipedia it's easy to find what you want not only that it's easy to find information that we don't yet know that we want so we end up reading we end up hours reading about random stuff and we learn and the then the I'm going through well inside and
the process that would that we go through that would be then to get information out of this website and then 1st we have to scrape which means getting the information the HTML city it into our computer so that we can work on the end of and yet this sort this step is actually a bit weird because sigh ASP doesn't make life easy because encoded URL which a great tacrine hackerspace managed to the code and there's cookies so you actually have to build them into your scrapers not easy either and
JavaScript access there's some stuff that you need to make JavaScript calls and we use Python and PHP scripts and a fire the Firefox extension was priceless reduced 12 2nd step is
passing we have to read the HTML we have to filter stuff correct mistakes text the statements we want to know what is what trend stuff take up the useless garbage and output to for we like to see is the if you're curious about why not another format like SQL last and and yet and we have to do quite complex Python scripts because the batteries quite complex as well for instance if you can imagine that that the people who were doing the transcripts and say 1985 are not the same ones who are doing in 2010 there are differences in the rules that you have to make your script your passes find to actually tagged information and finally you have to display a find a way to display that so we want to make a website a clear websites that we use gender and for that and so this is what we want to do was good and unobstrusive unobstrusive interface for this information from I will show you a little this some
screenshots from the Parliament website and from our own website and tried to explain what we did while we were building our system so the 1st thing that we thought is that we have to rethink the way that we were going to presenting information because on the government websites the information is spread around several different pages and you have lots of links to other pages with related information that could be all together in the same place and that's what we did this is the page from the Parliament website and here is the page that we built with everything together and also we added a few extra things like that Twitter of the the blog Facebook page and an e-mail and Google news feeds from another thing is
that while we were gathering the information we found that some things are pretty updated like the MP photos so if they started at as SNP is a long time ago and they still like and peace that the photos that we have now are the photos that they gave when this is it the and some of of the photos are also stretched and distorted this is really fun here we have a list
of the of the debate and all of that and peas in the Parliament website on our website and we just made it pretty simple without all the drop boxes in the beginning and then you can have a quick look and find what and you're looking for or this is
the calendar share you can now look for a debate and I we while doing this we also also we're thinking how can we take the most of HTML and CSS and all the capabilities of web pages because the government websites tried to reproduce printing and archival method methods that don't make sense when you are and the Internet so here is a very very long lists also with different pages that you have to go through and here images so made a quick overview as a calendar of each year and you can quickly see where when there are debates and you can choose 1 this is
a debate in In our website we decided to have it render it a little bit with that look of web forums and we ended and peas the and photos next to the interventions so that the thing becomes a little bit more interesting than having a PDF with just text and novel layout proper also we tried to do some work with the typesetting and I am information I In the Portuguese transcripts not only the interventions are written known but also the the sides and these are the interactions that are not apartment to the subject being discussed so we not that it should be a little bit less and intrusive in having the same impact as the actual intervention
and here you have another screenshot of the same page and you can see that little bit at the end of the intervention like clauses are alive and things that are not really important to what is being discussed we
have also we ended up a little buttons so that you can share quickly on Twitter identical Facebook love about as 1 intervention
here we have this entire 1st graphs and data analysis is quite complex and we want to get into that but we still don't have the time to do it properly so we just did a quick by shot showing the amount of time that each body had in debates and also which and being stopped and now we have 1 graph all patients and the murder of function that of very well which is only parliament but his Government well-known mannerisms that they say very often that doesn't make a lot of difference for for what's being discussed with we thought that it would be fun to know how many times they actually say very well here is that the soldier search results
page so presented the data in which the search term was found and also the 5 MPs which about what you were searching for and
this is a page from but open parliament which is a website that was a big inspiration for us this is the work of a single person and we actually met him while here because he's from all here the erosion and he was really very happy to know that we're also doing this work in Portugal and so this is what he came up with a completely by himself and they work for you from the UK
which is also a source of inspiration and just
a little bit about graphical details for the identity of our website wanted to have a very sober and serious and wait for the logo we decided to go for the coat of arms of Portugal which is in Wikimedia Commons and so
we decided to refine and a little bit change the colors the images of the home page of the website
and so it our point with this and that's why we also finished the presentation of the web site of the 1st flight we wanted to show exactly what it is you can find who they are and what they say that's pretty much what the website is for nothing else for now and we've been going
slow but we're perfectionists we were trained as graphic designers so we're just going into looks perfect so and they were looking for a perfect solution and then stuff happens and got put his government resigned
and and you probably heard this in March and the
elections 5th of june that's 3 weeks from now and that when we heard this it's like OK this is pretty much a big opportunity to to make a difference so we've been pretty much sprinting for since almost full
time were doing this pro bono but we really believe in this project so going forward the 20th of May and yeah that's pretty much there were really glad to have a wonderful webmaster backing those of who we can say hey we need this package and then we get an e-mail militant and saying hey you got it and he really believes this as well and we and we actually managed to know him thanks to the hackerspace and that he was doing really great stuff in another city in Portugal and he offered hosting and total support for the website so we don't have to care about that and we actually believe will meet the deadline in 2 weeks before the election so we can make a difference liberal wait no axonal no nothing we really just want to solve a problem we we want this issue just to get away and so the government yeah this can be done and actually you should be have been the ones doing it but if you don't then someone will pick this up and H. appealed to kill 3 cost so that was it thank you for
listening uh finally if assessed and people who are into free licenses we really need your advice about some details of so we really want
to run into the unseen over there and say thank you for attention few at around the a quick cash quick question or a comment it a I have to so and so the European Union give some of mindful of such kind of topic of projects what did you have some context and tried to to get on we actually didn't look for it and the reason we have no formal organization and we like to call ourselves to the rest of DesignStudio but it's really just ask were not yet a company and we also believe we can actually do this so we don't need funding money we found out with our hackerspace which at that it has no but it's pretty much complicates a lot of stuff and having money in your hands and this is actually something we really wanted to do this was a tool that we wanted to have and in the process everyone can have so which is also trying to prove a point here about and what can be done if if we actually believe in this and we also want to show there the value of the free software open standards and open formats so this is also a point and that's why we didn't care that much about getting money to feed us we thankfully have other sources as in our country's preachy and it's getting cheaper if you haven't seen the news not for so long that's that's another story we I hope that this that question I just want to say I presentation was just amazing and I want to congratulate you and such a great example was good thinking and great design can do from between the 2